FSU to sit Jameis Winston for half

ByJared Shanker ESPN logo
Thursday, September 18, 2014

Florida Statequarterback Jameis Winston has been suspended for the first half of Saturday's game against Clemson after he was seen shouting an obscene sexual phrase on campus Tuesday, thelatest incident in which his off-field behavior has created problems for the team.

FSU interim president Garnett S. Stokes and athletic director Stan Wilcox denounced Winston's "offensive and vulgar" behavior in a statement Wednesday to announce the punishment.

"As the university's most visible ambassadors, student-athletes at Florida State are expected to uphold at all times high standards of integrity and behavior that reflect well upon themselves, their families, coaches, teammates, the department of athletics and Florida State University," the joint statement said. "Student-athletes are expected to act in a way that reflects dignity and respect for others."

The joint statement also said Winston would undergo "internal discipline."

On Tuesday, Florida State students began flooding Twitter as several witnessed the reigning Heisman Trophy winner allegedly stand on a table in or in the immediate vicinity of the student union and yell obscenities, mimicking a popular Internet video. The phrase is of a sexual nature.

Winston apologized for his "selfish" act.

"First of all, I want to apologize to the university, my coaches and to my teammates," Winston said. "I'm not a 'me' person, but in that situation, it was a selfish act, and that's not how you do things around here.

"I want to apologize to my teammates because I have now made a selfish act for them. That's all."

Coach Jimbo Fisher, speaking during Wednesday's ACC teleconference, also showed his displeasure for what happened.

"It was not a good decision," Fisher said. "You can't make certain statements that are derogatory or inflammatory to any person, race or gender. You have to understand that. You have to be very intelligent about what you say, [because] it matters."

SophomoreSean Maguire, who has completed 16 of his 26 attempts in mop-up duty during his FSU career,will start as the No. 1 Seminoles host No. 22 Clemsonat 8 p.m. ET Saturday on ABC.

"You've got to overcome adversity -- and that's one thing at Florida State we do," Winston said. "We're gonna overcome adversity. And when I do get my opportunity to play, I'll do everything I can.

"That's what eats me up. I wanna be on the field. I did something, and I gotta accept my consequences. ... It eats me alive. I can't carry myself that way."

Winston was investigated in 2013 for sexual assault, but Willie Meggs, the state attorney for the Second Judicial Circuit, chose not to charge Winston in December. Florida State is still following through with its Title IX investigation into the matter.

Winston was also suspended from the baseball team for three games and ordered to perform 20 hours of community service after being cited for stealing $32 of crab legs from a local grocery store in April. There also have been other minor run-ins with authorities, but no arrests.

"You don't ever want any kind of instances, but we have to keep learning and educating, we have to make better decisions, we have to make good decisions on things," said Fisher, who said he has discussed Tuesday's incident with Winston. "And we'll try to continue to do that and try to educate.

"The statements ... you make are always going to be more public than statements that other individuals make. That's just the nature of the business, of who you are and what you are."

Former Seminoles quarterbackEJ Manuel, now with the Buffalo Bills, said Wednesday he talks with Winston all the time and had some advice for him.

"I think it's just being smart, understanding that you just got to make good decisions. You're not just a normal student at Florida State. You're the quarterback, you're the Heisman Trophy winner. I'm sure he'll continue to learn from those things," he said.

ESPN.com's Mike Rodak contributed to this report.

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